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HP Envy Touchsmart 15 review

A stylish desktop replacement with powerful specs and a touchscreen display
Wed Aug 21 2013, 15:32

Product HP Envy Touchsmart 15
Specifications 15.6in 1920x1080 resolution touchscreen display, Intel 2.4GHz Core i7-4700M processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Nvidia Geforce GT740M with 2GB VRAM, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 802.11b/g/n WiFi with Intel WiDi, Bluetooth, HD Webcam, 1x HDMI port, 1x headphone-out/microphone-in port, 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x SD card reader, 6-cell Li-Ion battery, 379.5x250.7x29.9mm, 2.56kg.
Price £1,000

REPRESENTING THE HIGH END of HP's consumer PC line, the HP Envy laptop roster delivers premium design with touchscreen support and improved performance for a better Windows 8 experience.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 laptop overview

With dedicated Nvidia graphics and a whopping 16GB of RAM, the HP Envy Touch Smart 15 is a notebook powerhouse and can serve as a desktop replacement, offering a large 15.6in display, a dedicated Ethernet port, an HDMI output port and Beats Audio for clearer sound on the move.

Design and build
The first thing that impressed us was the Envy Touchsmart 15's sturdy, well-built design. The chassis is made from aluminium with what HP says is an all-metal, single-sheet construction, so it feels exceptionally strong and robust. However, this full-bodied metal chassis comes at a price. With the Envy Touchsmart, what the user gains in resilience they pay for in weight and restricted portability, as it sits in the heavyweight category, weighing 2.56kg.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 laptop closed

It's definitely not the slimmest 15in laptop on the market, measuring just less than 30mm thick at its thickest point. It is slimmer towards the ends, making it feel less bulky than it could, and for a desktop replacement it is fairly slender, fitting into our rucksack to carry to and from work.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 laptop thickness closed

The Envy's aluminium appearance looks rather stylish, complemented by a subtle red line that runs around the inside of the keyboard, a nod to the integrated Beats Audio. There's also a fingerprint scanner on the far left for added security.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 laptop closed left side on desk

The Envy impressed us with its design and build. It feels exceptionally well made and has a high quality finish, and as a result it is a pleasure to work on, or play on for that matter. However it is a little on the bulky side.

As it is named the Envy "Touchsmart" it's hardly surprising that the Envy's ample 15.6in display supports multi-touch gestures, with support for up to 10 touch points. Touch commands proved responsive during our time with the Envy and we encountered no problems when using the display to issue commands such as accessing the smart menu, pinching and zooming in and out of webpages, and selecting icons.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 laptop display is rather reflective

For those times when you want to look but not touch, the Envy performs just as well. Its 1920x1080 resolution HD 1080p display is vibrant and clear, and colour reproduction is good, though not the best we've seen, coming nowhere close to Google's Chromebook pixel. The quality of on-screen icons is lower than seen on some of our recently reviewed ultrabooks, such as the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11S, as the screen has a somewhat grainy look to it, especially on close inspection when pixels are visible around icons, making them appear less sharp than you would expect on a 1920x1080 resolution display.

The Envy Touchsmart's glossy screen also reflects direct light at any chance it gets, but its display quality probably would suffer if HP had opted for a matte screen finish. Brightness levels are brilliant, however, as we were even able to work on the Envy outside, though not in direct sunlight, as with most mobile machines.

Next: Keyboard and trackpad.


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